Cost-effectiveness analysis of once-yearly injection of zoledronic acid for the treatment of osteoporosis in Japan
OBJECTIVE This study was conducted to assess the cost effectiveness of zoledronic acid 5 mg as a first-line treatment for the secondary prevention of fragility fractures in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis in Finland, Norway and the Netherlands. METHODS A discrete-event, individual-patient computer-simulation model was used to compare the cost effectiveness of zoledronic acid with that of basic treatment (calcium and vitamin D) and commonly prescribed bisphosphonates in postmenopausal women aged 50-80 years who have experienced one previous fracture and have a bone mineral density T-score of -2.5. RESULTS The cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained with zoledronic acid compared with basic treatment ranged from being cost saving in all age groups in Norway, to costing approximately €19,000 in Finland and €22,300 in the Netherlands. Compared with the other branded bisphosphonates, zoledronic acid was cost saving in many scenarios, including all age groups in Finland. In Norway, zoledronic acid dominated branded risedronate and ibandronate in all age groups and dominated or had incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) of up to NOK83,954 per QALY gained compared with branded alendronate. In the Netherlands, zoledronic acid dominated branded intravenous ibandronate in all age groups; compared with branded risedronate and oral ibandronate, zoledronic acid dominated or had ICERs of up to €4832 per QALY gained; compared with branded alendronate, it had ICERs of up to €48,383 per QALY gained. In all three countries, zoledronic acid may be cost effective compared with generic alendronate when patient compliance with drug therapy is taken into account. Sensitivity analyses showed that the model was robust to changes in key values. The main model limitations were the lack of real-life compliance and persistence data, and lack of country-specific data for some parameters. CONCLUSIONS Using local or commonly used thresholds, this analysis suggests that zoledronic acid would be a cost-effective first-line option compared with other branded bisphosphonates and, in some scenarios, compared with generic alendronate, for the secondary prevention of fractures in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis in Finland, Norway and the Netherlands.